Weston teachers balancing work at both middle and high schools
At both Weston middle and high school, a select group of teachers travel between the two schools to educate students from a wide variety of ages. In the span of a day’s work, these teachers do everything from preparing middle schoolers for the responsibility of high school, as well as providing high schoolers with critical thinking skills as they head off towards adulthood.
An expert in maneuvering between these two schools, middle and high school drama teacher Eliza Solomon recognized the difference of academic levels in the age gap of her students.
“The major difference between teaching at the middle school and high school is that everyone in the high school has the basic level of knowledge about dance and theater,” Solomon said. “But the middle school is about teaching that basic information and introducing the topic.”
As a Weston middle and high school Latin teacher of eight years, John Bracey is used to adapting his teaching style for each distinct level of his students.
“The middle school is free flowing in terms of syllabus, so we move at the pace of the kid’s learning. The syllabus at the high school is more structured,” Bracey said.
In addition to differences in curriculum, Bracey spoke about the unique role a middle school teacher plays in helping students through a difficult academic and social stage of development.
“Being a middle school teacher means being in a building with kids at the most awkward, difficult time of their lives. [It’s] being there for kids [as they make] the most difficult transition of their young lives,” Bracey said
Engineering teacher Stephen Boardman stated that one of the perks of teaching at both schools is the potential of having a student in class for multiple years.
“I really like teaching the same kids again in the high school. I get to see sixth graders as freshmen and how much they have grown,” Boardman said.
Despite these differences in teaching style and content, there are even more behavioral variations between these two age groups. In particular, Boardman noted the varying level of maturity between middle and high school students.
“Student behavior and attitude is drastically different. High schoolers are involved in more activities than middle schoolers,” Boardman said. “On the other hand, middle schoolers are more immature and they need more attention. They have a hard time staying on task.”
At the end of the day, these educators have an undeniable passion for teaching and they hope to make a difference in their students’ lives.
“I love teaching kids. No matter what age the kids are, that’s why I am here. That’s where the happiness lies,” Bracey said.